Get to know Julia Lambeth
1. How did you get into the wine industry?
I was introduced to wine while doing some hospitality work as a student, but getting a job at Majestic Wine was what started my career. At this point I had very little knowledge of wine and did not know I would end up having a career in the wine trade. But, like many people, I fell in love with it and managed to find a job that suited me.
2. How did WSET prepare you for a career in the wine industry?
Prior to studying I was able to pick up bits of information from my colleagues, but did not have the knowledge or confidence to talk to customers about wines or make recommendations. Studying for the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines really opened my eyes up to how much there is to know and how it all fits together. Studying for the Diploma really pushed me to learn more and helped me understand the wider wine trade.
3. Do you have a favourite wine or grape variety?
The short answer would be no. I like exploring different wines and regions – if there is something on a wine list or in a shop that I have not heard of, that is probably what I will buy. That said, you can’t go wrong with a Riesling!
4. Why do you think it’s important for people to learn more about wine?
I think learning about wine makes you enjoy it more. Having an understanding of the different aromas and flavours, the processes and the winemaking skills needed can enhance your appreciation of wine.
And, the more you learn, you realise the more there is to try – there is always something new to enjoy.
5. What do you enjoy most about teaching at WSET School London?
The variety of students and courses. We are lucky to have lots of courses running, so there are always new people coming through, bringing their own experiences. This means that no two days are the same. Also we show some very nice wines that I would not get to try very often otherwise!
6. What are your favourite topics to teach?
I like teaching grape growing and winemaking – the essentials that help everything else make sense. But one of my favourite moments in a course is watching people try Sherry for the first time. It can get quite a mixed reaction.
7. Do you have any advice for people wishing to enter the drinks industry?
Find the thing that interests you the most. I would not have imagined I would end up as an educator when I started out in a wine shop, but through being exposed to different parts of the wine trade and trying different things, it turned out to be the part that I find most interesting and really enjoy.
8. What are your top tip(s) for passing WSET exams?
It would depend on the level:
- For Level 2: read your book, at least twice
- For Level 3: focus on the theory part and again, read your book!
- For the Diploma: the best advice I was given was to try and study one day every weekend. This gave me an idea of the amount of studying that was required and also meant I didn’t leave it all to the last minute.
9. In your opinion, what is the future of the wine industry?
The wine industry has faced similar challenges to other business recently. I think the future will focus on sustainability and diversity – both of people and wines.
10. What is your dream job (drinks-related or not)?
It there a job where I can get paid to eat and drink and travel? I’d quite like that.
11. What is your proudest achievement (drinks-related or not)?
Winning the Wine Australia blind tasting club – I got a trip to Australia!